Arguments against integrated intranet solutions?

So let’s say your an employee at a large organization (several thousand employees) and “they” are starting to look at the possibility of buying some collaboration tool or tools. Let’s also assume that large organizations have a tendency to buy “large” all in one solutions because they seem to cater for the diverse needs of all parts of the organization without the need to maintain multiple systems. Given that you’re reading this, let’s also assume that you like discourse.

SInce the adoption of an all-in-one intranet solution would eliminate the “need” for an organization wide discourse instance, what are your arguments against an integrated intranet platform and for the use of multiple tools for various purposes?

If you have arguments pro an integrated solution, feel free to share them. I am always open for arguments. But I thought I’d be open with my preferences here. Against eierlegende Wollmilchsau.


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All-in-one app suites are never best-in-class for anything. Show me a feature in one of these huge monolithic apps and I’ll show you the stand-alone app that does it Right :tm:.

Nowadays every app comes with an API so it’s very easy to tie everything together rather seamlessly.


I did implement Discourse at a large organization (100000+ direct employees) and they already had a catch all intranet solution, with their own Forum-like thing.

I deployed Discourse alongside it, in a different domain as a shadow IT service.

After a few months it overtook the official forums organically, and 3 years later it’s still growing.

Key aspects for success in my experience:

After all, the best product will win. And the Forum solutions I had the displeasure to use in those big intranet systems aren’t great, to put it mildly.


So are you saying discourse replaced the forum module of the intranet platform and the other intranet modules are still being used as intended?

Overtook in usage (MAU/DAU, pageviews, topics, etc).

Old modules are still there and being paid for, as they have been for 50+ years now :sweat_smile:


Is the discourse instance only used for public (i.e. company wide) discussions or are there access restricted categories? If so, has it been a concern that admins and mods can read everything?

Most (95%) of the posts are public but there are many restricted categories too. Some are temporary, some permanent. People want to move to proper separated instances nowadays, instead of cramming more restricted categories into the main one.

No, the admins are two trusted employees. This has never been a concern.

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Okay, so we all agree in not liking integrated solutions. But now I just discovered Microsoft Teams and am tempted to revise my judgement. Teams looks pretty promising, provided that your organization is already using Microsoft products (especially if Teams is already included in your organization’s Office 365 subscription).

Various downsides remain, of course. Not the least: Teams doesn’t have anything like the quoting feature in Discourse and that alone is a huge thing. Another thing I noticed after test driving it with a colleague for only a few minutes: for whatever reason, my colleague failed to reply to my post when replying to my messages, thus creating a new conversation (what would be a new topic in discourse) for each reply. While such mistakes can happen, the important thing for the software to do here would be to allow me to move those replies into their right spots, i.e. to merge posts into an existing conversation. It looks like there is no way to achieve this in Teams.

I’d be curious to hear about how others who have experienced Teams in comparison to Discourse.

How did it go with you? Did you end-up using Teams or Discourse. It would be great if you can share.

Also, if you did come up with a comparison, please share.

Teams is more a chat platform in my eyes. Yes, you can have a threaded discussion, but it still feels like a chat. And you always see only the latest messages in the channel, 1:1 chat. Not a list of topics. And yes, there is no (maybe there is, but not easy) way to split posts, move to other categories (teams or channels) like in Discourse.

I realize this post is old, but i would add another idea.

When integrated system goes down, everything goes down. This was the problem with Office 365 services for us. We had a few outages and email was down, Skype was down, no way to alert users. So we had to put a message on our on-premise intranet and fight calls flood. Previously we had a local IM product and i would just send an IM to everyone if email is down. Or i would send an email to everyone if IM is down :slight_smile:

Having separate solutions for every need minimizes the risk of all of the communication channels being offline at the same moment.

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